"Fear! Fire! Foes! Awake!"

Raising the shires of Britain


At the end of J.R.R. Tolkien's 'The Lord of the Rings', the Shire, his representation of an ideal Britain, has been taken over. No longer in charge of their lives, the Hobbits are forced to submit to Saruman and his ruffians, who set about destroying the land for their own greed, power games and enjoyment of abuse.

Under pretence of taxation, they take the people's wealth for themselves: "they go out from there roving round, thieving or 'gathering' as they call it", Farmer Cotton says. And as for the leader, "all the ruffians do what he says; and what he says is mostly hack, burn, and ruin; and now it's come to killing. There's no longer even any bad sense in it."

This is what has happened in our time: Britain has been hijacked for power games, greed and abuse. What can we do? Try to sit this out, look after our own families, and hope the bad times go away?

"No!" said Merry. "It's no good 'getting under cover'. That is just what people have been doing, and just what these ruffians like. They will simply come down on us in force, corner us, and then drive us out, or burn us in. No, we have got to do something at once."

"Do what?" said Pippin.

"Raise the Shire!" said Merry. "Now! Wake all our people! They hate all this, you can see: all of them except perhaps one or two rascals, and a few fools that want to be important, but don't at all understand what is really going on. But Shire-folk have been so comfortable so long they don't know what to do. They just want a match, though, and they'll go up in fire. The Chief's men must know that. They'll try to stamp on us and put us out quick. We've only got a very short time. Sam, you can make a dash for Cotton's farm, if you like. He's the chief person around here, and the sturdiest. Come on! I am going to blow the horn of Rohan, and give them all some music they have never heard before."

They rode back to the middle of the village. There Sam turned aside and galloped off down the lane that led south to Cotton's. He had not gone far when he heard a sudden clear horn-call go up ringing into the sky. Far over hill and field it echoed; and so compelling was that call that Sam himself almost turned and dashed back. His pony reared and neighed.

"On, lad! On!" he cried. "We'll be going back soon." Then he heard Merry change the note, and up went the horn-cry of Buckland, shaking the air:

Awake, awake! Fear, fire foes, awake! Fire, foes, awake!



We hate all this wrongdoing in Britain today. People want change, but they don't know what to do. They just want a match, though, and they'll go up in fire. We need to take our country back. Let's hear that horn-call echoing in our shires, as we rise together for a new, equal and just Britain.